Small Things

I find you in a summer breeze

and Sunday afternoons.

I find you in a cup of tea,

and the smell of morning rain.

I find you in the chime of a bike bell,

and the nostalgic taste of childhood sweets.

I find you in the small things,

in the significant insignificances.

How Not To Revise for an Exam

If there is one thing in life I hate more than bratty middle-class children and Snapchat streaks, it’s exams. Before I get into this blog post I have to warn you that if you are reading this the night before your exam in the hopes of getting some nuggets of gold to help you in the big test tomorrow then this post isn’t for you. This post is a warning to people like me of what not to do when preparing for an exam, most of which was learnt through real-life personal experience.

  1. Do not cram in all of your revision in the last minute. If this sounds obvious to you then I can hazard a guess you have never struggled with procrastination. I believe procrastination is a real thing that does truly need to be looked into. I believe it is not a sign of someone being lazy, rather a bizarre manifestation of anxiety and fear. “If I don’t revise yet, then there is no exam” it feels like. The issue is, I procrastinate with productive things, to trick myself into thinking I am not wasting time. I will apply for jobs, write a blog post or two, perhaps go to the gym. All I am saying from past experience is recognise this behaviour and pleaaase start revising weeks before your exam. Even 30 minutes a day for a few weeks leading up to the exam will help! Do not pull an all nighter right before the exam!
woman covering face with book on bed
Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

2. Don’t just skip over things you don’t understand and hope they will not be in the exam. Yes, if I am honest with myself I am very guilty of this. If I don’t understand something I more or less shrug and move on to something I feel more comfortable with. But the time leading up to the exam is the time to email your tutors, do research or even ask a classmate!

woman in black blazer looking at woman in grey blazer
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

3. Do not have the first time you write a whole exam paper be when you actually do the exam. … I can see I lost some of you there, but this is a legit thing. Myself and other people I know do not even so much as glance at a practise paper let alone write them out and check the answers. Genuinely, doing this makes such a massive difference as you can see where your weaknesses are. You can also work on time management better! Also, as an English student who had to write 3 essays in 3 hours in her exam the other day, it helps to practise writing with a pen for prolonged periods of time. It’s like training for a marathon- you can’t just jump right in, you gotta train.

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4. Do not make revision a chore and punish yourself. I know it is counter-intuitive but getting into a new TV show or Youtube channel actually massively helps me to revise. So what I do is reward myself with an episode every time I do an hour of work, or when I finish a chapter, or when I finish a practise paper. 20 minute shows like the IT Crowd or Friends works better than those shows with an hour long episode as you get a break and reward but you still get plenty of time to study. This may not work for everyone as you have to have some self control and I know how tempting it is to watch another episode, especially when Netflix plays it automatically after 10 seconds.

closeup photo of person holding panasonic remote control in front of turned on smart television
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

5. Don’t worry too much because it is not like these exam marks will be with you all of your life for people to judge you on and will define what kind of future you will be able to provide for your unborn children… Hmm, actually don’t listen to me. It’ll be fine in the end. Probably.

 

Good luck and let me know down below what exam tips and experiences you’ve had!

Lots of love, Evie x

On being a Literature Student with Dyslexia

One of my teachers sheepishly approached me in class and asked if I would stay behind for a few minutes after. I, of course, suddenly started imagining the worst possible reasons why. Was I failing the class? Was I going to be kicked out of Sixth Form? Did my entire family perish in a terrible fire while I was at school but she wanted me to focus on completing the textbook tasks before I was told their fate? The bell rang. “Remember to finish the work on page 22 for next class- I will be checking!” my teacher called to her class, who were hurriedly rushing to their lunch. My teacher then looked at me, “Gosh, you don’t have to look so nervous. Basically, a few of your teachers have suspected that you may be Dyslexic, and so we are calling in an Educational Psychologist to screen you next week. Do you mind if I keep a hold of your writing book for evidence?”

I can’t remember the Educational Psychologist’s name but she was nice and spoke very slowly. She told me not to worry and that we just have a few simple exercises to do. I had 20 minutes to write about what ever I wanted, just as long as I kept writing. I believe they wanted to test my sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and speed of writing. I then was given a series of letters and was asked to read them aloud as quickly as I could, followed by a series of words, followed by a series of numbers. I then had to go onto a computer and each screen had around 15 alternate spellings for the same word, I then had to quickly click the correct spelling before the screen moved on and showed me 15 more alternate spellings for another word. I was given some example sentences and asked to identify what was wrong with them, or if there was anything wrong at all. This all felt a little silly, considering I was 17, however the results came back that I was in fact Dyslexic and that I would receive 25% extra time in my exams.

There is a whole spectrum of Dyslexia and fortunately mine is rather mild, which is why it took me 17 years before I learnt I had a problem. I was told that my form of Dyslexia was less to do with spelling and grammar, as is most common, rather to do with information processing. They said, for example, most people would be asked a question and instinctively answer it “A-B-C”, whereas I would answer it more like “A-M-X-J-E”. I would show strong knowledge, but it was not immediately as obvious to me as other people what I am being asked to answer. I was told that people with Dyslexia, especially my kind, tended to be creative and think outside of the box more. However, they can struggle with higher education as mark schemes are rigid and favour conventional answers over creative ones. This is why I was awarded extra time, as it meant I could think more about what the question is asking of me, and how they were asking me to answer.

I was rather nervous starting an English Literature degree giving that I knew I had a learning difficulty typically related to Literature as a subject, and I was not even fully aware of how my Dyslexia impacted me. It is simple enough being told “you have something that makes your thought pattern different to normal people”, but what did this mean? I could not identify it in myself, I could not see when I was thinking differently to others, if that makes sense. I genuinely believe when I am writing an essay that this is what they want me to write about. It can be very difficult.

I notice it in class when we are asked to share our ideas about a text and my answer varies a great deal from other people’s. I notice it in personal life when my friends joke I always misunderstand things. I noticed it in work when it took me a little longer than everyone else to learn the complicated order on how to do tasks, when another method seemed to make more sense to me. The older I get, the more I notice that I approach things differently to other people. Some things that are instinctual to others I have to learn, because I am unlearning the way that is instinctual to me.

On the plus side, I do tend to get marked highly for creativity and thinking outside the box in my coursework. I have been awarded extra days on all of my deadlines to complete my work which gives me more time to really develop my ideas. I do feel anxious as I have an important exam next week, and I know the mark schemes are more rigid than with coursework, and so I will try hard to truly use my extra time wisely and think about how a normal person would answer this.

People find it ironic that I am an English Literature student and I run a blog even though I have a learning difficulty which says I should do otherwise. Some days I agree and question why I make life hard for myself. However, most days, I just give them a smile and explain that in a way Dyslexia is a gift. I cherish creativity and I wouldn’t  have it any other way.

Let me know in the comments below if you have Dyslexia or any other learning difficulty. I would love to find out your tips for coping as I am always willing to learn. Also let me know if you would like me to do a little guide of things I do to help my Dyslexia!

Love from Evie x

Opening up about my obsession…

“Evie, you haven’t posted in over a week despite promising to be more active on your blog! Why do you hurt us with your lies?”

“Well, reader, I beg you to be less dramatic! I have been busy working hard. I have been trying to save up money for when I leave my summer job and return to university. I hope you do not mind. In my absence I have created a list of new blog-post ideas as I am aware I have been in a lull of ‘Book of the Week’ posts. This is just a short post about my new-found obsession.”

The colour green (forest green, to be exact) has always been my favourite as it brings me a sense of peace and down-to-Earthliness. Fortunately I live in the suburbs in Kent, which means I am surrounded by enough fields to make Theresa May jealous. I used to despise the outdoors as every Sunday growing up my parents would drag my brothers and I around a sad nature trail in the rain an insist that the “fresh air is good for you!” 12-year-old me did not agree. Wifi was good for me. However, when I got older and the stresses of anxiety and also general adulting gave me a new-found appreciation for nature.

The first year of university planted the seeds (pardon the pun) of my love of green. My University is situated more or less in the middle of the South Downs- an area of England known for beautiful rolling hills and wildlife. When essays got me down, I would just walk right up the hill and look at the horses that resided nearby. This gave me a sense of relief and it made assessment season easier to cope with.

bright day environment field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The way I see it, Humans are not designed to spend their lives inside looking at a screen; man was made to hunt and scavenge outside. I think this is why Humans are prone to anxiety (comme moi) and stress. I believe that being around nature reminds us that we are only animals and that the stresses of capitalism and everyday life do not really matter in the long run.

It started out with a succulent, how did it en up like this?

Like every 18-year-old -white-girl-studying-an-Arts-degree nowadays, it is trendy to keep succulents. They are easy to look after, pretty to look at, and give the impression that the owner cares about the environment. I am now 20 and proud to say that my first plant is still alive and well.

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I expanded my succulent collection and adopted some cacti (or ‘prickly-boiis) as well. I am sad to report that one succulent (or ‘succy-boii’ to my friends and I) did not make it, however this was due to a possible insect in my opinion.

Prickly-Boiis and Succy-Boiis are cute and all, but they are also small and thus do not quite bring enough of the outside inside. So recently, I have adopted a few new plants. I did careful research before going to Coolings Gardening Centre and purchasing them. I selected 3 for now (however I am looking to expand my collection) to come join me in my new house. This includes two kinds of Pilea (one is called a Chinese Money Plant) as I like the roundness of the leaves and the way they grow and stick out in a somewhat sporadic nature. The other is called a ‘String of Pearls’ and I like it for its odd design. I intend for the latter plant to grow and cascade down my bookshelf, and am intending on purchasing perhaps a Golden Pothos to join it. I will also be building a ‘Kitchen Garden’ where I will grow herbs on the windowsill, so if you would like a DIY post on that then just let me know.

Below I have attached a family portrait:

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(“Evie, did you take this photo on an actual potato in what appears to be around 1999?” “Yes, reader, I did.”)

Let me know in the comments below if you have any recommendations for indoor plants as I am always looking to expand my collection! I am also intending upon uploading a kind of ‘Virtual Tour’ of my new bedroom in Brighton when I move in next week (sounds fancy but in reality I will upload a few pictures of my room and write some commentary) so let me know if that sounds interesting! Leading on from plants, I am intending on writing a blog post about my experience recently and attaching some pictures I took there, so let me know if that is of any interest to you guys as well!

Lots of love, Evie x